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Sightseeing of Mt. Fuji

Scenic Beauty

Japan In-depth

Mt. Fuji is the most famous mountain in Japan. The area surrounding Mt. Fuji is a most attractive tourist route for there are all kinds of sightseeing spots as well as resorts. To climb Mt. Fuji, you will need to plan an overnight visit. If, however, you wish to go on a day trip, we recommend a bus tour that will take you to the Fifth Station of Mt. Fuji and well-known sightseeing spots in the environs such as the Five Lakes of Fuji known as 'Fuji-go-ko' and Hakone. In fine weather, you will be able to command a magnificent view of Mt. Fuji. Mt.Fuji
Katsushika Hokusai (C) Hagi Uragami Museum

A sacred mountain captivating people since ancient times

The highest mountain in Japan, Mt. Fuji is 3,776 meters above sea level, and is located more or less in the center of Japan, stretching over Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures. Its elegant conical form has frequently been depicted in many paintings and literary works since ancient times. Many Japanese dream of standing on the summit at least once in their lifetime, and Mt. Fuji is visited by some 300,000 climbers every year. The mountain officially opens only in summer; the climbing season runs from the beginning of July to the end of August. If time permits, why not aim for the summit? From the mountain top, you will command an exquisite view of a field of clouds spreading endlessly into the distance under the indigo sky. In particular, the early morning scene of the sun rising from the sea of clouds is of an inexpressible beauty, and this sunrise is regarded as a deity and worshipped by the Japanese who call it 'Goraiko'. The sun rising up on New Year's Day known as 'Hatsu-hinode' or 'the first sunrise of the year' has a symbolic importance, attracting many tourists to Mt. Fuji.

On the mountain top, there is a mail box, so you can send letters with your impressions upon reaching the summit.
Every year, there is an increasing number of foreign hikers coming to Mt. Fuji, and the hiking routes are now marked with signboards in English, Korean and Chinese.
Other than the joys of mountain climbing, Mt. Fuji offers the delights of appreciating scenic beauty. There are various tourist spots in the vicinity, where you will be able to fully enjoy the pretty landscapes of each of the four seasons.

History & Faith



Fuji senken jinja shain
Fuji senken jinja shain
Since ancient times, Mt. Fuji has been the object of awe and admiration as a sacred mountain and a divinity of fire. Some myths depict Mt. Fuji as a deity, most frequently as a goddess.
Moreover, there remain countless legends about superhuman beings flying in the air and climbing on horseback to the summit, or walking on the sea waters from an island and climbing up Mt. Fuji on foot every night, and so on. And in fact, there emerged ascetics who went into the mountain to undergo training so as to be inspired with divine power.

Fuji-ko (Mt. Fuji worship)
Fuji-ko (Mt. Fuji worship)
Hatomori-hachiman Jinja Shrine
Hatomori-hachiman Jinja Shrine
Later, the emergence of Hasegawa Kakugyo (1541 to 1646), who performed all kinds of religious austerities such as climbing up Mt. Fuji more than a hundred times, and going on a fast that lasted 300 days, led to the formation of 'Fuji-ko' which was an association of people worshipping the deity dwelling in Mt. Fuji.
Kakugyo was followed by the charismatic ascetic Miroku (1671 to 1733) who stimulated the ordinary people's worship of Mt. Fuji all the more. Miroku fasted in Mt. Fuji, and is believed to have died in the form of a mummy while offering prayers for the happiness of all living people. People became so fanatic in their worship of Mt. Fuji that this faith came under a ban by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

The members of Fuji-ko (Mt. Fuji worship) not only climbed up the mountain, but also piled up lava rocks from Mt. Fuji to make miniature-sized Mt. Fuji called 'Fuji-zuka' mounds, and built shrines, where they paid visits of worship. Although miniatures, some were 10 meters high and quite impressive. Moreover, Fuji-ko was not merely an association of a religious nature, but also played the role of an organization of mutual help in the local community centered around Mt. Fuji.

Photo(C)Fujiyoshida Museum of Local History

Culture

Ando Hiroshige
Ando Hiroshige
Tsurunoyu (Sendagaya,Tokyo)
Tsurunoyu (Sendagaya,Tokyo)
Many artists have been captivated by the diverse expressions shown by this mountain depending on the season, or depending on the time of the day, whether in the morning or early evening. It is widely believed that Mt. Fuji is unparalleled worldwide as a mountain that has so frequently been narrated, sung in verse, and drawn.

Photo (C) Hagi Uragami Museum

Of the numerous paintings of Mt. Fuji, people were above all moved by the Tokaido goju-san tsugi (Fifty-three stages of the Tokaido) by Ando Hiroshige and Fugaku sanju-rokkei (Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai in the 19th Century. Hokusai's dynamic composition, in particular, influenced Vincent Van Gogh. Composer Claude Debussy was also inspired by Hokusai, in his composition of The Sea, Symphonic Sketches for Orchestra.
For the people living back then, these paintings also served as guidebooks. Looking at the landscapes depicted in these works, they could familiarize themselves with Mt. Fuji, and were able to feel as if they had actually traveled there.
Representative works of the modern age include Nihon-ga (Japanese-style paintings) by Taikan Yokoyama and oil paintings by Ryuzaburo Umehara.

Also, huge pictures of Mt. Fuji were drawn on the walls of many sento public bathhouses of Japan.

Moreover, Mt. Fuji has been a popular motif in literary works. The Man'yo-shu (A collection of a myriad leaves) which is the earliest Japanese collection of waka, or Japanese poems, compiled in the 8th Century, is especially well known. Once in the modern age, the novelists Osamu Dazai, and Jiro Nitta who had the experience of working at the local weather station of this mountain, selected Mt. Fuji as the motif in their works.

Science & Nature

Formed approximately 100,000 years ago, Mt. Fuji is a composite volcano (volcanic cone). After repeating volcanic activities, it became the largest mountain in Japan. The eruption in 1707 continued for as long as 16 days, and there remain records that massive amounts of volcanic ash and lapilli traveled as far as present-day Tokyo area 100 kilometers away.
And this eruption led to the formation of Mt.Hoei-zan (2,963 m) which is a parasite volcano of Mt. Fuji. Mt.Hoei-zan's huge mouth of the crater can be seen from Shizuoka Prefecture.

Other products of this eruption include the numerous caves located in Aoki-ga-hara, also known as the Sea of Trees (Jukai), which is a 3,000-hectare virgin woodland growing over the lava flow. Also formed at the mountain foot were five lakes which are known as Fuji-go-ko, or the Five Lakes of Fuji. These lakes are considered to share the same subterranean water veins, and at times of heavy rainfall, a sixth lake called Aka-ike (Red Pond) sometimes emerges.

Mt. Fuji is also blessed with abundant spring water. The piled-up snow takes many years to be filtered through the layers of earth, producing mellow water with high mineral contents. Especially famous for abounding spring water flowing from Mt. Fuji are the eight ponds known as Oshino Hakkai in the village of Oshino-mura in Yamanashi Prefecture.